Saturday, March 31, 2007

Danger!!! ¡¡¡Peligro!!! Ah, Unagi...

I know I linked to these videos in the last post, but this is one of our favorite episodes of Friends: "The one with Unagi"

I even found it on YouTube en EspaƱol and it just proves what a truly funny show it was, cause I don't really understand many of the words (they're talking WAY too fast for me),but I still laughed my ass off...


Friday, March 30, 2007

First Sushi - Summer Rolls

We recently started going to a new grocery store - ok, an old store, but a new location for us - the Kroger in Grandview. It's a pretty nice store compared to the Kroger that's closer to us where they've removed the service meat and seafood counters, and many of the more healthy items we buy (like Kashi Heart to Heart cereal). The Grandview store has a Starbucks, an olive bar(the garlic stuffed olives were great!) and an automated deli computer that lets you pick your order from the touchscreen, take your ticket from the printer and come back later to pick your order up from the cooler next to the olive bar. No more waiting for your turn to order and waiting for it o be sliced, all while your ice cream sandwiches melt...

There's also has a sushi counter... Yeah, I know what you're probably thinking, sushi from the grocery store? Are you crazy? Well, no, I'm not - there was the sushi chef at the gleamingly clean counter, making it up fresh and it looked pretty good - see for yourself - this is what we bought for our first taste of sushi:

Those are summer rolls - tapioca wrappers around avocado, cucumber sticks, some lettuce, carrots and surimi with a pack of sweet hot sauce. An interesting and successful first foray for us.

So the next week Boogie and I returned to the same store and, of course, we had to stop and pick up an other pack of sushi, and at Boogie's insistence, a different kind this time. I'm not exactly sure what these are called, but again, they're a pretty basic roll - Seaweed wrapped around rice around surimi, packaged with some wasabi, soy sauce and a bit of sweet/hot pickled ginger.
Boog couldn't wait to break into it when we got home. First, though, he had to get his chopsticks out (Hold-Stix), and a small bowl for his soy sauce, then he dug in; I have no idea where he learned to eat sushi, but he from what I know, he did it just right:

Between the 3 of us, we ate most of the pack right then and we all liked it. and Boogie finished the remaining few pieces for lunch the next day. So this weekend, we''ll be returning to try something new again, some nigiri this time, maybe even unagi (or as Ross Geller from Friends would say, Danger!!! or ¡¡¡Peligro!!! I never knew Friends was so funny in Spanish!), aka barbecued eel.

We'll see how long this sushi adventure lasts. So far, it's been pretty interesting.


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Grapefruit snacking

The local groceries are starting to carry some nice citrus again, so for our late night snack we've gone back to eating oranges and grapefruit. We've been fortunate to have some real nice juicy sweet blood oranges (Moro variety, see photo below), although the navel oranges have been a bit ordinary.

The grapefruit have been off to a great start, though, firm, juicy, very sweet, and not too tart, especially the pink ones. I usually peel them, separate the segments and remove the membranes leaving nice bare naked hunks of sweetness. We sprinkle them with a little Turbinado sugar
then grab a fork.
Mmmm, grapefruit...

One word of warning, though: Grapefruit juice has been shown to have some health consequences as well as benefits. Grapefruit juice, even in small amounts, has been shown to have well documented drug interactions with prescribed medications, such as Calcium channel blockers, Statins, and others. See this site for some more details.

So enjoy, but be careful!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Feeling "Humble"

I’ve written mostly about recipes and a few restaurants on this blog; this is the first I’m writing about a city – an entire city – sort of… A few months back I added a “Site meter” to Lorence’s Kitchen to do some site tracking.
Site Meter

Site meter is a free, useful, though somewhat limited (with the free version) statistics counter that I look at to see how many hits this site gets each day (current average is about 16), how people are finding this site (looking for “Shrimp Etouffe”, “Stuffed Peppers” & microwave steamed broccoli among others), and where they’re connecting from. Ah, where they’re connecting from, that’s the part I’ve really been surprised about. This site has been hit by people from all around the world – not a lot of them, but enough to really impress me with the power of this intertube-net thingy. Since I started looking at the data for the last 1200 or so visitors, I’ve calculated that I’ve had visitors from 38 different countries, and 47 out of 50 states (Delaware, South Dakota, Wyoming – where are you? Come take a look!) & D.C.

But one place that kept popping up on the Site Meter report over the past several weeks caught my eye, and I noticed it because of it's name: Humble, Texas.

I’m sure (ok, so I’m not sure, but I hope) that I have a few “friends” out there who stop by here on a regular basis, but this particular entry on the report just stood out to me, so I went looking for Humble. Wasn’t too hard to find, I just used my ol’ pal Google like I do whenever curiosity gets the best of me and found Humble right where I expected it – Texas.

Ok, so that’s not really funny… I had no idea where in Texas it would be. It turns out to be north east of Houston just outside their outer, outer belt. I was actually fairly close (about 30 miles away) once when I visited Houston for a software conference back in the mid 90’s (flew into Hobby, not Intercontinental). Curiosity being what it is, I went straight to their Official City of Humble website and found that it looks like a very nice place – small, with a population of about 15,000 (about the # of students that my college had), but pleasantly nice. Their website is well done with a great many locally oriented links and some very informative and interesting history on the town’s origins. I also like their Fire & EMS page, where they have some nice photos of their apparatus, including a fine photo of the first real fire apparatus purchased by the City of Humble Fire Department in 1937. Boogie’s gonna love seeing those photos…

So to my visitor from Humble, leave me a comment, say hello, tell me what you like about Lorence’s Kitchen and what I can do better. To the rest of my visitors, stop by their webpage, & stop into town on your way through. I’ll bet you get more than a few friendly “howdy’s”.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Hold-Stix in action

Way back in my very first post (Feb, 2005 - has it really been that long?), I promised I would put up a photo of Boogie using his "Hold Stix" kiddie chopsticks. I finally found the photo - ok, ok, so I finally remembered to find the photo, finding it only took a minute. Here it is:

In addition to all the re-runs we had last week, we also went to P.F. Changs and had the Chang's spicy chicken ("Lightly dusted and stir-fried in a sweet Sichuan sauce", according to the menu). Very good, tangy and spicy warm and we'll have it again. It was a nice change from our usual at chang's, spicy ground chicken and eggplant, especially since we knew we'd be making our own version at home later in the week.

We brought his Hold-Stix with us (we never go for Chinese without them), but this time he used the real thing, the chopsticks provided at the restaurant, and did quite well even with those little hands of his. Of course, he had his usual Garlic Noodles, but he liked our spicy chicken, too, and was able to pick them up handily. He never ceases to amaze me!

If you're having trouble with chopsticks yourself, there are several good "how to use chopsticks" guides on these here internets, like this one and this one. These chopstick FAQ's also have some other interesting information, like these warnings:
  • Avoid sticking your chopsticks into your rice straight down. It's bad manners, because it resembles the incense that family members burn to mourn a dead relative. When done put chopsticks over bowl and lay them flat.
  • Avoid passing food with the chopsticks. As in the previous warning, this resembles a section of the traditional Japanese funeral, where the family members pass bones using chopsticks. Instead, when passing food, place the food on an intermediary plate, preferably using a serving utensil or, if none is provided, turn your chopsticks around so the ends that have not been in your mouth touch the food, then give the plate to whomever.
  • Chinese etiquette says that you may lift your personal rice bowl close to your mouth with one hand, as you use the chopsticks to push the rice into your mouth. However, Korean etiquette says this is very bad form! Be aware of the people you are eating with, and what the customs are.
  • Also do not cross your chopsticks, because in Chinese cultures this is a symbol for death. Always lay them parallel to each other.
Who knew it was so complicated?!?


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Re-runs and Updates

This has been a week of re-runs, which has been good, since it has allowed me to take some photos for posts I've made that didn't have any. Tonight we had Spicy Chicken and Eggplant,as good as always and I've added a couple of shots to the original post.
We also did the Carribean pork again, photos and all. Leftovers were enjoyed as well, and it was even better the second day!

BTW, the large spoon in the photo of the black beans cooking is part of the set of utensils I took when I left home the last time before my final year of college. It's part of an old Ecko Flint vanadium stainless steel set. I have most of the pieces, which I believe my mother received as a gift more than 45 years ago:

I'm not sure when Ecko stopped making them, but it would be a brilliant idea if someone could convince the powers that be at Ecko to bring them back. In the past few years. with the help of Ebay, I've gotten a second ladle and a couple of mashers and am trying to get other pieces, like the slotted spoon and offset spatula. These are the very best utensils ever made. Their stainless steel stands up to the most vicious abuse (I should know, I've been abusing them for over 20 years), the solid rivets never let go of the Bakelite handles and they are weighted and balanced perfectly. So if you're after them, too, please have a heart and don't outbid me! My goal is to make a complete second set, so when my son leaves home he can take his own and leave mine alone!

We also had the Sausage Pasta with Goat Cheese (sorry, I forgot to take photos again...), and the shrimp etouffe, too. It was quite a tasty week!


UPDATE: 3/19/07 11:00 P.M.
I just won an Ebay auction (yeeha!) of a six piece set of the Ecko Utensils described above, including a Potato Masher, a Ladle, a Slotted Spoon, a Pancake Spatula, an Offset Spatula, & a Meat Fork. The picture below is from the auction:

I have the spatula, masher, ladle and fork, but I've always wanted the slotted spoon & didn't know about the offset splatula 'til last week. And the fork is going to be a great addition since mine has a crack at the very top of the bakelite - it's been that way as long as I can remember, 30 or more years at least. This makes my second set that more complete!